Nanaimo’s new fire hall won’t get LEED building certification

Nanaimo's new fire hall won't get LEED building certification
WatchStaff say the process is too costly for the current building plan to fit within the budget

Station One, Nanaimo’s downtown and busiest fire hall, is 52-years-old and will soon be replaced with a new building.

But despite a city policy that all new buildings meet a gold LEED Standard, a highly recognized environmental building certification, staff asked city council for an exemption because it’s too expensive.

“It’s a very intensive process to work through as far as staff and consultants are concerned,” said Bill Sims, Nanaimo’s general manager of Engineering and Public Works.

“There’s a great deal of documentation right from the start right through to the project and it can add significant cost and effort.”

Staff say getting that certification for the fire hall would cost an extra $200,000.

And with a $17 million ceiling on its budget staff say attaining the LEED standard for the current building plan is no longer possible.

“Avoiding that doesn’t mean we’re avoiding the energy improvements that LEED brings. The program has a lot of really good outlines that we’re taking,” said Sims.

This comes after Nanaimo City Council declared a climate emergency earlier this year.

But last night, council approved the exemption in an 8 to 1 vote.

“Council allowed the exemption because it was satisfied that essentially you’re getting a LEED building without paying for the certification. Ultimately the building is a first-class building,” said Leonard Krog, Nanaimo’s Mayor.

Coun. Tyler Brown was the lone dissenter.

“We set ourselves in our strategic plan and in our climate emergency declaration quite ambitious targets and council has been doing great work in that regard but with respect to building efficiency we don’t build too many buildings and here was an opportunity to sort of showcase and build an example project,” said Brown.

The city says the fire hall, expected to be completed in September 2022, will be extremely environmentally friendly as it’s designed to be more efficient than the model national energy code by up to 31 percent.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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